Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Age (Dordr). 2008 Sep;30(2-3):177-85. doi: 10.1007/s11357-008-9061-4. Epub 2008 Jun 22.

Evolution and mechanisms of long life and high fertility in queen honey bees.

Author information

  • 1Department of Animal Biology and Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1206 W. Gregory, Urbana, IL 61801, USA. remolina@uiuc.edu


Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are eusocial insects that exhibit striking caste-specific differences in longevity. Queen honey bees live on average 1-2 years whereas workers live on average 15-38 days in the summer and 150-200 days in the winter. Previous studies of senescence in the honey bee have focused on establishing the importance of extrinsic mortality factors (predation, weather) and behavior (nursing and foraging) in worker bee longevity. However, few studies have tried to elucidate the mechanisms that allow queen honey bees to achieve their long lifespan without sacrificing fecundity. Here, we review both types of studies and emphasize the importance of understanding both proximate and ultimate causes of the unusual life history of honey bee queens.

Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (1)Free text

Fig. 1
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk